Fleet Vehicle Replacement & Lifecycle Management

What happens when your company drives their vehicles until the wheels fall off?

Driving a vehicle “until the wheels fall off” refers to the practice of keeping a vehicle for as long as possible, without regard for its age, condition, or mileage. This approach can lead to:

  • Increased maintenance expenses: The older a vehicle gets, the more likely it is to need repairs and replacement of parts, and the more the costs will grow. 
  • Decreased fuel economy: As vehicles age and more miles are driven, fuel economy typically diminishes, resulting in higher fuel expenses.
  • Diminishing resale value: Buyers may be less willing to purchase an older vehicle with high mileage, regardless of its condition.
  • Losing customer goodwill: A fleet that looks old and poorly maintained can create a negative impression with customers, who may assume that a company that doesn't take care of its vehicles doesn't take care of its customers.

It is critical for fleet managers to find the balance between keeping vehicles for as long as possible and replacing them in a timely manner to reduce the total cost of ownership and maintain a positive image.

What goes into Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?

The total cost of ownership for fleet vehicles is a measure of the total costs associated with leasing and operating a vehicle over its lifecycle. It includes both direct and indirect costs.

Learn more about total cost of ownership and how lifecycle management can lower TCO.

The Optimal Vehicle Replacement Point

The optimal vehicle replacement point is when annual operating costs surpass the market value of the vehicle. After this point, a business begins to lose an increasing amount of money on the vehicle every year.

Optimal fleet vehicle replacement point


Different Fleet Vehicle Replacement Strategies


Fleet Vehicle Replacement Strategy

Regular replacement

Replacement based on mileage

Replacement based on vehicle age


A fleet management strategy where vehicles in the fleet are replaced on a set schedule, regardless of their condition or usage.

This typically involves replacing vehicles after a certain number of years or miles driven.

The goal of regular replacement is to ensure that all vehicles in the fleet are relatively new, which can improve efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, and enhance the image of the company.

This approach is used by fleets that experience a high amount of annual mileage on their vehicles, as well as when vehicles are used intensively and wear and tear is high.

This strategy can also be used to take advantage of new technologies and features that are frequently introduced on new vehicles.

Vehicle replacement based on mileage is a fleet management strategy where vehicles are replaced when they reach a certain number of miles driven.

This approach focuses on maintenance cost avoidance and the wear and tear of the vehicle, rather than its age.

It can be useful for fleets that have high mileage vehicles, such as delivery or transportation services.

By monitoring the mileage of each vehicle and replacing them when they reach a certain threshold, it helps to ensure vehicles are always in good working condition and reduce unexpected breakdowns, which helps minimize significant downtime and maintenance costs.

Vehicle replacement based on age is a fleet management approach where vehicles are replaced when they reach a certain age, regardless of their mileage.

It can be useful for fleets that operate in less demanding environments and don't put significant mileage on vehicles, such as office or government fleets.

By monitoring the age of each vehicle and replacing them when they reach a certain threshold, it helps to ensure the vehicles are always relatively new and up-to-date with the latest technologies, which can improve efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, enhance the image of the company, and improve driver safety.

Using Vehicle Tracking Data for Fleet Replacement Decisions

Vehicle tracking data can be used to make informed fleet vehicle replacement decisions by providing valuable insights into the status of a vehicle. This data can track distance traveled, fuel consumption, maintenance costs, breakdowns, and more.

With this data, fleet managers can identify which vehicles are in need of replacement. Additionally, this data can also be used to identify patterns in usage, such as which vehicles are used for specific types of trips or during specific times of day, which can inform decisions about the type of vehicles that should be added to the fleet.

Overall, using vehicle tracking data can help fleet managers make more data-driven decisions about when and what types of vehicles to replace. Fleet vehicle tracking data takes the guesswork out of vehicle replacement and allows managers to make accurate decisions for reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

Fleet Vehicle Tracking

The Ewald Advantage

Contact the fleet management professionals at Ewald for tailored recommendations regarding fleet vehicle cycling for your fleet. Your fleet is unique, and Ewald can help develop a strategy to fit.

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